The Heavy Ball

This, that and the other. Mostly the other

The balls Indians bowl

A cheat sheet for England on what India's bowlers will have in store for them

Sidin Vadukut

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Harbhajan Singh did not have a happy outing, taking 0 for 51 on a helpful pitch, West Indies v India, 2nd ODI, Trinidad, June 8, 2011
The Turbanator delivery: holding the umpire hostage to your wicket demands © Associated Press
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Last week I was all set to write a hard-hitting column on the recently concluded Indian tour, titled "Pathetic Performances, Spineless Spirit and Resistance to Change: How Can Australia Recover From This?" The Aussies are in a shambles and there simply isn't thought and analysis going into how they can now bounce back from their indifferent performance at home. The fielders, in particular, have struggled all through the series to occupy the field for any stretch of time.

But then I was shocked to see how the English were being mauled by the Pakistanis in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Against some excellent Pakistani bowling the English have looked like tottering amateur schoolchildren who lack skill, grace and the dignity to, for instance hypothetically speaking, let an all-time cricket great score a landmark score at Lord's or The Oval so he can retire in peace and let, for the love of god, Rohit Sharma replace him.

As usual the English media and cricketing establishment have reacted by parading out a laundry list of hackneyed excuses: lack of preparation, inadequate coaching staff, insufficient immigration, and, as always, "instant capitulation by the French".

But it is no secret that the true architect of England's collapse has been Saeed Ajmal and his mysterious doosra delivery. Much like the World Cup trophy, so far the English have been utterly unable to pick up Ajmal's doosra.

As a cricket fan it saddens me to see a major cricketing nation suffer like this. So I have decided to contribute towards the betterment of English cricket. Please find below a comprehensive guide to the types of balls delivered by Indian bowlers. I hope cricket fans from other nations in the subcontinent will also chip in with their own lists in order to give the English a fighting chance in future tours.

Doosra: We start with the doosra or "the second'. Much like the legspinner's chinaman, the doosra may be thought of as the offspinner's legbreak, or to make it easy for beginners, the third man's left-arm pavilion-medium. The ball, delivered suspiciously like a stock offspinner, pitches on off and turns sharply towards the other direction. Unless otherwise specified.

Pehla: If the doosra means "the second", the logical question would be: is there a pehla or "the first"? Of course there is. The pehla is the ball delivered just before the doosra. If the batsman has identified the pehla, then he can rest assured the doosra is coming up next. This is a popular trick used by subcontinental batsmen.

Prabhakar: The bowler runs up with the speed and action of a fast bowler or medium-pacer, before astonishing the batsman with a very slow spinner. The prabhakar bounces on off stump and sharply moves towards the square boundary for four. Meanwhile the bowler has been dropped from all forms of the game.

Teesra: The teesra (literal Hindi translation: "Varghesekutty") is a ball of mythical proportions, the invention of which is widely credited to Pakistani spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who unleashed the first few recorded instances of this delivery in the Indian Cricket League. During that successful tournament he also renamed it after a popular subcontinental sweet - the anarkali chhena sandesh. It is a disguised offspinner that, instead of deviating off the pitch towards leg, turns towards a life of substance abuse and knife crime.

Super-fast inswinging yorker: After an express run-up, the Indian fast bowler launches a blindingly fast delivery that swings sharply in the air, dips and arches in towards the batsman's feet before clattering into his stumps or crushing his feet. Seen on iPhone, Xbox and Playstation games.

Off-putter: Harbhajan Singh bowls a ball and appeals profusely. And then he gets a wicket by some twist of fate and gets selected again and again and again. Fed up.

Leg break dance: Tremendously underrated and rarely appreciated, except when a World Cup-winning catch is required, this is a fast delivery that bounces on leg and cuts sharply to off, taking the wicket of a crucial batsman at a crucial point in the game, when other overrated bowlers are struggling to make an impact. Superb, justified celebrations follow.

Kohli ball: Made famous by Sri Lankan fingerspinner Ajantha Mendis. Here the ball is delivered with a grip different from that of wristspinners and conventional spinners. Instead the Kohli is delivered with a flick of the middle finger. The Kohli usually moves from leg to off, but is known to sometimes swing in the other direction.

Motherflipper: Exact delivery as the Kohli, but the bowler continues to use the finger even after the ball has been delivered.

The ball of the century: Always bowled by a right-arm medium-pacer to an arrogant left-hand batsman, the ball pitches outside off stump and cuts in to hit the stumps, thereby making Aamer Sohail look like a total tool. Greatest moment in Indian history.

Sidin Vadukut is the managing editor of Livemint.com and the author of the novel Dork: The Incredible Adventures of Robin 'Einstein' Varghese. He blogs at Domain Maximus.

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Comments: 57 
Posted by   on (February 9, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

Prabhakar ball cracked me up! hahaha :D

Posted by kamran.afzal on (February 8, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

ha ha... one of the very few times that an article manages to crack one up... Good one Sidin ;) ...

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 21:08 GMT)

Looks like the author ruffled certain fans with this article!

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

I couldn't stop laughing on the "pehla" ball.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

God dammit Sid. You had to go and do this. The only reason the British could not play these deliveries is because they did not know what it means. Now you come up with this comprehensive list... Hope that you have at least marked this page as non-index-able by search engines.

Posted by Adeel9 on (February 7, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

lol the kohli ball and motherflipper was awesome.

Posted by akshayasiri on (February 7, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

Not only Indian bowling but batting 2 is poor like the article.

Posted by Ammade on (February 7, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

Nice article :D Especially the KOHLI ball and MOTHER FLIPPER :D Hahaha

Posted by   on (February 7, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

Hahahahahaha...Motherflipper!~!!

Posted by indianroots on (February 7, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

lol.. common guys.. am an Indian cricket fan too.. in fact a crazy one.. but that doesn't mean u should not criticize or have some good laugh at a funny article.. nice one sidin.. enjoyed reading.. cheers!

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Sidin Vadukut
Sidin Vadukut has been writing extensively about cricket since he started writing this column for ESPNcricinfo. He comes from a family of footballers, who all nurture virulent hate for cricket in general and Basit Ali in particular. Vadukut is the author of the Dork trilogy of office-culture humour novels. By day he is a columnist and editor with business daily Mint. At night, depending on when he gets off work, he goes home or fights crime. His favourite cricketer is Saeed Anwar. By which he means Sachin Tendulkar. Jai Hind.

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Sidin VadukutClose
Sidin Vadukut has been writing extensively about cricket since he started writing this column for ESPNcricinfo. He comes from a family of footballers, who all nurture virulent hate for cricket in general and Basit Ali in particular. Vadukut is the author of the Dork trilogy of office-culture humour novels. By day he is a columnist and editor with business daily Mint. At night, depending on when he gets off work, he goes home or fights crime. His favourite cricketer is Saeed Anwar. By which he means Sachin Tendulkar. Jai Hind.
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